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Thread: Cotton substitute

  1. #1
    Super Member mrspete's Avatar
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    Has anyone learned whether the world markets have found a substitute for Cotton! This southern gal just briefly heard something so if I relate it, do not take if for fact. BUT, agricultural world recognizes that cotton depletes the soil and has to be replanted each year. That means more treatments to soil and more labor to replant and cultivate. The bamboo plant is a staple plant in that it can be cut and never have to be replanted and needs little soil treatment. The fibers from the bamboo plant are spun as we do our cotton. NOW I am stretching to imagine this but I think it would be a wonderful 'green' route. Any feed?

    Blessings,
    Ruth

  2. #2
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    It's already on the market. I love bamboo batting:)

  3. #3
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    bamboo and soy fabrics are out there now :D:D:D

  4. #4
    Super Member hobo2000's Avatar
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    My kids love Bamboo shirts and Hemp shirts and jeans. Hemp is easier to work with and holds up better than bamboo. However, Bamboo is silkier.

  5. #5
    Super Member sewmuchmore's Avatar
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    I have tons of Bamboo wish I knew of the company that would buy it from me. :wink:

  6. #6
    Super Member donnajean's Avatar
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    I think the socks I am wearing were made from bamboo.

  7. #7
    Super Member mrspete's Avatar
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    I've got a lot of reading to do, dontcha think? I've been drifting again, thanks y'all.

    Blessings,
    Ruth

  8. #8
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    There is no real substitute for cotton. Cotton is nearly ready to use straight off the plant. You have to remove the seeds and comb it but that's about all you have to do to make it ready to spin into yarns. All the other plants, bamboo, soy, flax and hemp have to be processed into useable fibers first. They use chemicals to do the processing.

  9. #9
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Nice thought but from what I've read, the process of making cloth from bamboo would deplete more resources then replanting of the cotton. But everyone would rush to buy bamboo fabric just because it is labeled 'green'. Then the cotton industry would die back. When the bamboo hype becomes reality of what is being lost, then the cotton growers will be almost non existent. I do not support most 'green' products or methods until it's proven to save more then it looses.

  10. #10

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    I did read the other day online somewhere that China is finding a shortage of cotton to make material.

  11. #11
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    On a recent visit to one of the LQS I talked with the owner who informed me that the U.S. no longer grows cotton for fabric. Her comment was that it is all grown and processed in China. I told her that I thought the U.S. was still growing cotton in the South to which she replied, "yes, but it is not fabric grade cotton." Like a lot of other things, there must be different grades and qualities.

    I know that bamboo can be grown in U.S. because I have seen it and also read that it is hard to control once it has been planted. Does the U.S. harvest and produce "cotton" from any bamboo grown in this country? Just curious?

    June in Cincinnati

  12. #12
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    Bamboo takes way too much water to grow. I checked into growing it. To label it green for production of fabric is a MIS-interpretation of reality. I will always support cotton. Bamboo reed does make decorative fencing quite nicely because it lasts a very long time.

  13. #13
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    I know that bamboo can be grown in U.S. because I have seen it and also read that it is hard to control once it has been planted. Does the U.S. harvest and produce "cotton" from any bamboo grown in this country? Just curious?
    ----------------------------------------
    As a nursery family member I can tell you about the growing part..I found out the hard way. There are about two kinds of Bamboo, ranging from a couple of inches to OMG!! The clumping kind is where you put out a cute little plant and watch it grow, and soon cute little ones come up all around Mamma and in their own turn have cute little bamboo shoots growing up around them.

    Then there's the running kind. You put out a cute little plant and watch it grow, and soon, one day you hear your neighbor down the block screaming about where in h%#@ did that D!@# bamboo plant come from that is in his lawn. That is the time for you to quickly dig up YOUR bamboo, hurriedly throw it away so no one will know you had it and in a few days YOU can be the one screaming about that D!@# bamboo plant coming up in your front lawn!!

    My DH made me put mine in a pot and built me a rolling flat to keep it on so it wouldn't root in our planter beds. Finally gave it to my brother who did not listen to any advice and would up with a bamboo forest that almost prevented any sight of his house from the road. Had to be poisoned to get rid of it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Moon Holiday's Avatar
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    And, did you know there is yarn made out of bamboo, hemp, silk, soy and sugarcane! To be honest I haven't seen sugarcane fabric but I did buy some sugarcane yarn as a gift for a friend and it had a lot of silk yarn properties. I bought it because she loves to knit with unusual things and I wanted to get her something exotic that I knew she'd never used before. She loved it!

    http://www.yarn.com/webs-knitting-cr...-fiber-exotic/

  15. #15
    Super Member quilt3311's Avatar
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    I did purchase a bamboo batting at a show last spring. I think it worked OK, but I still like cotton the best. Used my Hobby Lobby coupon last week for a roll of cotton batting. 40% savings and will have batting for a LONG time.

  16. #16
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    This has gotten to be very educational. Thanks to all of you for sharing your knowledge with us. I am sure many of us will not go so far as to research this subject. This is exactly
    what makes this Board the biggest and best among information board. We start out with sewing and quilting and before we know it, we are researching how our fabrics are made, all the way down to the plant from which it is grown.

    You guys are MAAAR-VELOUS!

    June in Cincinnati

  17. #17
    Super Member Dodie's Avatar
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    I agree with everything you said Bellaboo not only that but this replacement stuff is going to be very expensive and at 2 of our local quilt shops they do not carry bamboo quilt batting as they said to expensive and it does not hold up like cotton in the washing I have not tried it but going by what I was told

  18. #18
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    I have yarn that is made out of bamboo and its fantastic, feels and works just like cotton yarn.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dodie
    I agree with everything you said Bellaboo not only that but this replacement stuff is going to be very expensive and at 2 of our local quilt shops they do not carry bamboo quilt batting as they said to expensive and it does not hold up like cotton in the washing I have not tried it but going by what I was told
    A quilter friend told me that after a few washes a quilt made with bamboo batting starts to make a crinkly noise.

  20. #20
    Super Member hobo2000's Avatar
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    I made 3 quilts using Bamboo batting. I love the way it drapes and it is light but much warmer than cotton and gives more definition to the quilting. With the continued failure of foreign crops, 3 years in a row, we must look to other replacements. I favor hemp as a material. I don't know the problems but they are trying to use the rice leaf as a replacement for fabrics. Cotton destroys the natural minerals in the earth. It does not give back and you are supposed to alternate crops to replenish the soil but most growers do not. They try adding the chemicals and keep on growing. We must stop destroying our planet.

  21. #21
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    There are 2 methods for processing bamboo.. one is "natural" and doesn't use harmful chemicals.. but takes MUCH longer to process and much more work. the second uses enough chemicals that it totally negates the "green" benefits.. so until they find a third option I'll stick with cotton. That is why they quit making so much linen.. retting it takes a LONG time and you have to stomp it and tend it daily to process it properly.

  22. #22
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    Cotton IS still grown in the US and sold to make fabric. The problem is that we don't weave much fabric here, so most of the cotton is shipped to Asia where labor is cheap. They weave, print/dye/etc the cotton then ship it back to us and elsewhere. Makes great sense, huh? Cotton is still grown in the southern US, and in Arizona. Yes, it depletes the soil, but crop rotation will replenish the soil. Most corporations are too cheap to take a field out of production for a year or two, and our family farms are nearly gone. It's up to us to force the issue. Keep buying cotton, folks.

  23. #23
    Super Member jojosnana's Avatar
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    I have bamboo pjs and they are wonderful. I think I also saw bamboo sheets but they were a bit high in price so perhaps it is a market to come yet.

  24. #24
    Super Member mommafank's Avatar
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    Bamboo bath towels are the bomb!

  25. #25
    NanSew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    There is no real substitute for cotton. Cotton is nearly ready to use straight off the plant. You have to remove the seeds and comb it but that's about all you have to do to make it ready to spin into yarns. All the other plants, bamboo, soy, flax and hemp have to be processed into useable fibers first. They use chemicals to do the processing.
    And all of this processing make it more expensive for a hobby that is already quite expensive. Just saying.

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